Content marketing platform NewsCred is today announcing a new round of $42 million to help it evolve into a broader marketing platform.
Brands want to tell their unique story, cofounder and CEO Shafqat Islam told me, but their messaging underperforms when it relies on ads, because users often block or tune them out.
Based around a brand’s need to control how its story is told, the seven-year-old company is now expanding beyond its content marketplace and distribution to a more generalized marketing platform.
As one example, Islam noted that NewsCred’s former Editorial Calendar is now replaced by a Marketing Calendar that helps keep track of what’s happening on websites, email, social, and other channels.
There are also operational tools for managing content-related workflows, task management, and collaboration, which in recent years have expanded to include social media, integration with other systems, publishing to owned properties like a brand’s websites, and analytics that describe who is viewing and sharing the content.
Islam also noted that a tool is in the works to help marketers determine the best places to invest their budget.
Content itself is continually expanding, venturing beyond white papers, case histories, webinars, licensed imagery, and short- or long-form recorded video to include user-generated imagery and posts, advocacy by employees, and live streaming video.
With content playing a central role in marketing, Islam said his company’s platform “has taken off.” NewsCred reports that its revenue grew threefold last year, and its customer base doubled. Fortune 2000 companies represent 40 percent of its customers, and include such well-known brands as Barclays, Cap Gemini, Cisco, Fidelity, Dell, Pepsi, USAA, Visa, and NASDAQ.
But this newly expanded role for the company does not completely replace the rest of a marketing stack, he acknowledged. For instance, he said that you can use NewsCred to create an email list and manage it, but you might still employ Salesforce’s ExactTarget marketing platform for deliverability.
NewsCred’s evolution is part of a trend of marrying content marketing with other capabilities. New York City-based PulsePoint, for example, recently added content marketing to its ad targeting automation, as DNN did with its content management and Acrolinx with its language optimization.
Among direct competitors, Islam sees Percolate as more focused on social, while Skyword and Contently are more oriented toward their writer marketplaces. At the high end of marketing platforms, there are the big players like Adobe, Salesforce, and Oracle, but he said they’ve added much of their functionality through acquisitions, while NewsCred has “built it organically.”
And, he pointed out, his company looks at marketing “from the content angle.”
The new funding, which brings the total raised to $88.8 million, will be used to double the company’s sales team and to support software development of the platform.
FTV Capital led this Series D round, with participation from existing investors FirstMark Capital, InterWest Partners, and Mayfield Fund.